Snow White And The Huntsman (2012)

Rating: **
Review Date: 6/17/12
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins

A visually stunning, but completely boring and uninteresting take on the classic "Snow White" fairy tale. Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) is a powerful sorceress who seduces and murders her way to the throne and remains the fairest beauty in the land by stealing the life essence of pretty girls. She keeps her stepdaughter Snow White (Kristen Stewart) locked away until her eighteenth birthday, which is the day her beauty will outshine that of the queen. Snow White's beating heart can either grant immortality to Ravenna or utterly destroy her, but she conveniently manages to escape the castle just as Ravenna's men are coming for her. Enraged, the queen finds a huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) who is brave enough and stupid enough to find the missing girl, but he has a change of heart when he meets her. They also run into a band of surly dwarves who pledge their allegiance to the radiant Snow White as the rightful heir to the throne. And so, with her uncanny ability to charm men's hearts, Snow White rallies an army together to assault Ravenna's castle and reclaim what is hers.

More than anything, it reminded me of "Willow" (1988) in its tone and execution, but the writing is weak and the direction is uneven. Charlize Theron goes above and beyond in her psychotic portrayal of the wicked queen, dispensing cruelty in a childish effort to soothe her broken soul. Kristen Stewart is lovely, and her seductive eyes and inviting mouth command the viewer's attention. It's also nice to see her get her anger on when she picks up a sword and leads a desperate charge into battle against the queen. Chris Hemsworth is about what you'd expect: a big, dumb brute with an arrogant swagger and a heart of gold. The scenery is fantastic, punctuated by a wonderfully creepy dark forest and a delightfully magical fairy forest. It's just a shame that the film never seems to go anywhere or do anything. Perhaps its biggest problem is the audience's familiarity with the story, which sets up certain expectations that aren't met. The re-envisioning of the tale seems pointless, and the film would have probably worked better without the loose connection to the source material. In an attempt to cash in on Chris Hemsworth's rising popularity, I read that a "Huntsman" spin-off is already in the works, which seems completely absurd to me.